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OTTAWA, Ontario, April 7, 2008–Canada’s Environment Minister John Baird and Parliamentary Secretary Rod Bruinooge, on behalf of the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, today announced that another National Park Reserve will be created in Canada’s north. The Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve will be situated in the Sahtú Settlement Area of the Northwest Territories in the upper South Nahanni watershed, and is one and a half times the size of Prince Edward Island.The announcement was made together with First Nations, the Government of the Northwest Territories, and environmental groups at Canada’s Museum of Nature.
This is the Government of Canada’s fifth recent conservation announcement in Canada’s north, representing our commitment to preserving the North’s ecological treasures. The announcements include:
· In August 2007, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the expansion of the boundaries of the Nahanni National Park Reserve, which protects of an additional 5,400 square kilometres of land within the Greater Nahanni Ecosystem;
· In November 2007, the government announced two major conservation initiatives that protect more than 10 million hectares of land in the Northwest Territories: the creation of a national park in the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, and the creation of a national wildlife area for the Ramparts River and Wetlands (Ts’ude niline Tu’eyeta); and
· In March 2007, the government announced funds to ensure that the Sahoyúé – §ehdacho National Historic Site of Canada on Great Bear Lake will be permanently protected.
“With this historic agreement announced today, we are once again taking action to protect Canada’s North for future generations,” said Canada’s Environment Minister John Baird. “This agreement helps us ensure the conservation of a part of the Mackenzie Mountains natural region of Canada, and protect the ecological integrity of this area, a great complement to the massive expansion of Nahanni National Park Reserve that we have already undertaken.”
“Environmental protection is one of four main priorities in this Government’s Northern Strategy, because we know how important it is for Canada to preserve the North’s ecological treasures,” said Mr. Bruinooge. “We are so proud to stand with our northern partners today, and announce that more precious land up north will be forever protected.”
In addition to the important land withdrawal, today’s announcement includes a memorandum of understanding (MOU) as well as a contribution agreement of $500,000 over two years to complete an Impact and Benefit Plan. Sahtú Dene and Métis elders and youth are part of this negotiation process, as are representatives of the land corporations, the renewable resource councils, and the Tulita Dene Band.
“The Government of the Northwest Territories is pleased that the Government of Canada is working with us and with Sahtu aboriginal organizations to further protect our land,” said Northwest Territories Environment and Natural Resources Minister Michael Miltenberger. “The Northern ecosystem is fragile and vulnerable and its continued care is extremely important to the people of the North.”
In the past year, the Government has taken action on major conservation initiatives, such as:
· A massive expansion of the Nahanni National Park Reserve;
· Major land withdrawals on the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, as well as the Ramparts River and Wetlands;
· Creation of the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area;
· $30 million to protect the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia;
· $3 million to the restoration of Stanley Park in Vancouver and Point Pleasant Park in Halifax;
· $225 million for the Nature Conservancy of Canada to preserve and conserve up to half a million acres of land across the country; and
· $5 million to protect the Sahoyúé §ehdacho National Historic Site on the shores of Great Bear Lake, the largest lake in Canada.
In addition to protecting our environmental heritage, the Government of Canada’s new Northern Strategy includes strengthening Canada’s sovereignty, promoting economic and social development, and improving northern governance.
Office of the Minister of the Environment
Media Relations Advisor
Backgrounder associated with this News Release.
>Working toward the creation of Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve
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